Distractionless browsing becoming a reality

Single Page Applications
…or ‘the web as an application’.
Creating a distractionless environment is getting harder with the latest browsers. When creating or browsing normal web pages, I would hate it if a site stripped my browser. In certain circumstances, like internal web based applications, I’m finding it more and more necessary. Keep reading to learn how I do it now and what I see for the future…

When I was in Mesa, AZ last week for the West Wind Web Connection conference I demo’ed a couple of my single page applications (SPA). I really wish I had more time to go over the details and mechanics that make them work. The SPAs that I create don’t generally create a history in the browser i.e. the back and forward buttons don’t apply. All of the navigation is done by controls embedded in the page. To keep from distracting my users, I automatically close the browser and launch a chromeless window in IE6 that has the address bar, buttons, and file menu stripped away. The browser that spawned the new window is automatically closed without the dreaded ‘Are you sure’ dialog with this javascript in the new chromeless window.

<script type=”text/javascript”>
function closeit()
{opener.opener = top;

<body onLoad=”closeit()”>

This is a bit of a hack, and it isn’t going to work for very long. As I alluded to ealier, the latest browsers work harder to allow a developer to remove features or menus from them automatically. So what is a developer to do? Luckily, more and more options are presenting themselves. Here are the ones that I’ve started to play with:

Some have local data storage, some use a standard rendering engine, and all have unique strength/weakness points. Surprisingly, none are in a stable/production version. They are all in an alpha or beta stage of development. I’m going to play with more of them over the weekend. Look for a through review next week of how well they work with my VFP/WC environment.

P.S.: I’m also working on the jQuery books reviews from earlier this month. Look for them about the same time.

1 thought on “Distractionless browsing becoming a reality

  1. I sure hope that you guys understand this stuff. I have used and seen the distraction less windows that he created when we worked for the same company and they are a great time saver and are surprisingly easy to use.

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